US Presidential Elections: Pollsters keep the pot bubbling

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The Independent Online
OPINION polls continued to show a tightening of the US Presidential race yesterday, with two Gallup surveys indicating a virtual dead heat between Bill Clinton and George Bush.

The CNN-USA Today daily tracking poll, conducted by Gallup, put the Democrat at 41 per cent of likely voters, only one point ahead of the President, with the independent, Ross Perot, falling back to 14 per cent. Another Gallup survey for Newsweek magazine showed Mr Clinton with 41 per cent, Mr Bush 39 per cent and Mr Perot 14 per cent.

But all the other polls conducted over the last two days, including internal polls for the two parties, find a somewhat wider Clinton lead of between 5 and 10 per cent. A CBS poll of likely voters last night gave a 10 per cent lead to the Democrat, and an ABC tracking poll put him 9 per cent in front.

Controversy about the accuracy of the Gallup-CNN poll focuses on its restrictive methods for sorting out likely and unlikely voters. The Clinton campaign says Gallup is missing tens of thousands of young voters who have typically not voted in the past but will turn out for the Democrat on Tuesday. Gallup says its methods are based on past experience of younger, poorer, less educated voters telling pollsters they plan to vote but failing to do so.

A senior Democrat said yesterday that, despite the public polls, the race was 'pretty solid. State- by-state our numbers are holding up pretty well.' But one worrying sign for the Clinton campaign was that, so far, the melt-down of the Perot vote was helping President Bush more than the challenger.

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